The design thinking behind Pump House in South Norwood

The design thinking behind Pump House in South Norwood

Made in Croydon

Pump House in South Norwood is the first building wholly designed by our own architectural practice, Common Ground Architecture (CGA).  CGA started working on designs for Pump House whilst working directly for Croydon Council as the first local authority architecture team to be established in a generation.  It is the first housing scheme to be completed as Common Ground Architecture, and has been 100% made from our base in Croydon.

We asked Chloe Phelps, Head of Design at Brick By Brick, who heads up our talented design team at CGA, to reflect on the design process for Pump House, and share some of the sketches that lead to the handsome building that now stands proudly on the corner of Station Road, in the South Norwood conservation area.




About the design process

From the outset we wanted to create a building that was characterful, that would bring a confidence back to Station Road in South Norwood. The site itself was a bit of a missing tooth in the street scene and had been empty since the 50s when an old leatherworking hall had stood on the site.

From research and conversations with local residents we realised that Station Road had once been quite different. Up to the 70s there was a really lovely Art Deco Cinema that stood proudly as part of the street scene on the site next door. We wanted to capture some of this elegance in our design.





As a corner site with two street frontages, the building was composed of two elements.  The first creates a symmetrical white brick facade with expressive detailing facing onto Station Road to pay homage to the cinema.  This was then interlocked with a more humble red brick building wrapping the corner into Cargreen Road.




Referencing the detail of the windows on the old cinema, we developed an interlocking motif that continues across many of the smaller details throughout the building.





Where openings are created, feature banded brickwork has been inserted to appear as if it is calibrating the solid components of the façade.




The interiors of the building have also been designed by Common Ground Architecture. As you walk into the building you are welcomed by a bold grey and white tiled entrance hall continuing the interlocking detail of outside, whilst referencing Victorian entrance thresholds. Further inside, the motif continues, but is softened through the use of oak herringbone flooring in the living areas of the apartments and light grey tiles in the bathrooms. The ground floor space will house the new local library which will reinvigorate the street scene.

For more information about the homes that are available to buy in Pump House, please register your interest and contact our sales team for more information.

For more information about Common Ground Architecture, visit their website.